Study shows $608M in Starkville retail expenditure

NSPARC Executive Director Mimmo Parisi speaks about a new report on consumer spening in Starkville Friday. The report showed more than a half billion of consumer spending in the community. (Photo by Charlie Benton, SDN)
Staff Writer

Target and Olive Garden are the two most requested businesses for Starkville , according to a consumer spending survey completed by the National Strategic Planning and Analysis Research Center at Mississippi State University (NSPARC).

However, the two-year study went much deeper than business hopes, and reported that Starkville has more than half a billion in retail expenditures, totaling $608 million. The figure was broken down as follows: $80 million from MSU students, $44 million from MSU faculty and staff, $236 million from Starkville residents, $56 million from MSU alumni and season ticket holders and $192 million from Starkville visitors.

“The city, our business community and Mississippi State University share the mutual goal of retail expansion in this community,” said Starkville Mayor Parker Wiseman. “We believe that it benefits us as a community from a quality of life standpoint. Our business community is always seeking opportunities, and Mississippi State University sees it as critical to the quality of life that they seek to cultivate in this community for their prospective students and faculty members.”

Wiseman added that the survey aimed to seek out some of the difficult to find data on how the Starkville retail market operates.

“Basic market research has a difficult time getting a handle on exactly what the spending patterns are, particularly of those groups - students, visiting alumni/tourists, etc. - are in a place like this,” Wiseman said. “Since that’s a major part of our market, we entrusted Dr. (Mimmo) Parisi (NSPARC director) with NSPARC and his staff nearly two years ago to help us with a project that could further define that.”

In a news release, Parisi said the survey could serve as a roadmap for economic development policy for the Starkville community “that we haven’t even thought about yet, or that we didn’t think was possible.”

Among the study’s other findings is that over 87 percent of participants were in support of a major shopping center in Starkville. Participants also state specific establishments they would like to see open in Starkville.

“What a prospective retailer wants to know is always can they sell their products and can they make a profit in this community,” Wiseman said. “The data that Dr. Parisi and his team mined shows why it’s critical what those buying patterns are.”